The VPME Review……January 2008

The January review – In Feburary? . Well we’ve been running a bit late at the VPME as unfortunately Mr VP went AWOL, causing complete mayhem at VP Towers. He was finally tracked down to a classic car show room in Bootle, where he appeared to be attempting the purchase of a De Lorean DMC-12 “Just like Marty McFly’s please.” When confronted by his loyal staff he had been trying to explain to a rather unnerved car salesman that he “had to get back to 1992” to a place called “Planet Miki”. (CUCKOO!) Finally after a fist fight and an extremely low speed car chase involving a milk float, a smart car and a renegade fairground dodgem car, he was sedated and taken for an assessment by the VPMEs crack medical team. After a thorough examination he was declared “as sane as he’ll ever be” and was allowed to return to work. He seemed much revived and despite his recently dyed flame red hair, is still the same odd little fellow with a propensity to talk utter bollocks. So, finally its time for the VPME review

This month we are joined by

Dogwood: A regular now on The VPME, Dogwood awaits with his ear cocked and his finger firmly set to “wag” mode

Monster Bobby : Pipette man and solo artist, described by The Morning Star as “A curious fellow” and by The Kooks as “A bit of a spazzer.” Bobby uses a unique reviewing technique as he explains ” for some reason none of the music players played music to me so I shall base my responses entirely on prejudices (which indeed are the basis of all good decisions)

Nick Levine from Tack! Tack! Tack! and owner of Index 7. Imagine Rupert Murdoch with a soul or Richard Branson with good looks, yes that’s Nick he doesn’t eat, he doesn’t sleep, he is relentless in his quest to rule the new media and he will never stop!! Described by the other half of Tack! Tack! Tack !, Jason Christie, as “Benny Hill for the new millennium.”

Gordo: Drummer from top Scottish popsters The Hussy’s: Gordo doesn’t waste his breath prattling on like some. He is a firm advocate of the ancient Scottish art of “Verbal Minimalism” -Aye!

Dave Cromwell: Dave’s from New York City but don’t worry he isn’t going to shoot you! but like most Americans he believes in the right to arm bears. He writes for Soma Soma Scene and is often pictured being stalked by pop types, recently he has had to shake off the attention of The Raveonettes, The Jesus and Mary Chain, Kate Nash and The Pipettes, it’s a hard life.

Christine Crowther: Christine, the strawberry girl, works in the Music Bizz and runs Plastic Factory. She likes her music and appears to have exemplary taste. But now comes the big test…..

VP: Quite simply, smaller than life. Is now helping out with “Keep Your Ears Peeled” in his quest for Peel like adulation

Ollie Pound: Guitarist with hotly tipped Screaming Ballerinas. Proud winner of VPMEs waistcoat of the year, beating Joe Lean into a cocked hat…Will this start a bitter pop war??? (hope so)

The Review

MORRISSEY –“That’s How People Grow Up”

DOGWOOD: I often considered Morrissey to be a bit of a kindred spirit, he is after all the elder statesman of common sense amongst the gadabouts that make up what is apparently known as the alternative scene and Dogwood is the kind of Englishman that Morrissey laments the passing of. So, with those conditions in place I am well disposed towards this tune. It reminds me of buses with conductors, powdered eggs, wearing a pair of shorts to my first day of work and having my legs chaffed to bits as I fed the seagulls off Wigan pier. It’s how people grow up, it really is and no amount of MTV pimp my missus blingery will ever change their fact. At the heart and soul of all things real lies Morrissey and I’ll stand him a Mackeson’s in salute in the great working mans club in the sky. Dogwood admires.

NICK: So this is taken from Morrissey’s Greatest Hits? I thought he issued one of those around five minutes ago? This is pleasant enough. Doesn’t really go anywhere you wouldn’t expect a Morrissey song to go. Again, MySpace only offers us a short snippet. Tight bastard.

MONSTER BOBBY : “Former genius reduced to tragic Californian”

CHRISTINE: Right it pains me to say this being a massive Smiths fan but is anyone else getting tired of Morrissey??? This song is just like all the others that he’s released of late and I find it so dull. Others out there may see this as classic Morrissey. “Irish Blood” was a great track but since then they have all become a bit formulaic and gives the impression he is just trying to keep his bank balance afloat. Sorry Morrissey.

VP: “You’re never too old to rock” roared Grandpa Von Pip as he was led away from an S Club Juniors gig by security. For those out there who think Mozza’s getting a bit too long in the tooth to be railing against the world look at it this way…There’s far more to moan about when you’re older, I will cherish the day Mozza starts to sing about his creaking knees, lumbago and incontinence strides. The song itself is fairly decent, not his finest by a long stretch but certainly better than a lot of dross about. Even Morrissey on auto pilot is a delight; we should regard him as a national treasure and revere the great man. In fact he should be given his own Saturday Night Show in the style of Bing Crosby or Val Doonighan wherein musical guests unexpectedly drop in to his (studio) “home”. Picture the scene, its 2017, Mozza is sitting by a roaring fire smiling contentedly as he flips through his K-Tel record selector which reveals various Smiths albums. Suddenly “DING-DONG” – “The Front door, on a night like this? Who could it be?” Says a clearly startled Mozza. He opens the door. “CRIVENS!!! It’s Only Bloody Johnny Marr.” Johnny appears to be frozen from the bitter coldness “outside” and brushes “snow” from his coat. Minutes later they are both sitting round the warming glow of the fireplace, chatting like old chums about former glories, when suddenly, and with a spontaneity that could never be scripted Mozza leaps up and bellows “Hey John!, Here we, a couple of old timers shooting the breeze How’s abouts we sing a song together” / Johnny who had very nearly chocked on his “Werthers Original” at Morrissey’s sudden outburst, concurs “Great idea Mozza, but I have no…erm……HEY! Is that my old Gibson Cherry SG over there?” The opening bars of “Cemetery Gates” are recognised immediately by a rapturous studio audience who oscillate wildly as Mozza puts his cocoa down and warbles contentedly –Amen!….. A HIT!

OLLIE: I can only assume that this recording is a platform for Morrissey’s voice -the Brit pop throw back guitars chug meanderingly into an MOR black hole that’s only impressive in how closely it resembles a karaoke backing track… which doesn’t bode at all well… his lyrics dont even annoy me (which is normally a given with Morrissey) and the tune is basically non existent.

DAVE: I’ve never been a fan of Morrissey or the Smiths. I was indoctrinated early by the opposition – that other “Smith” – Robert and his band the Cure. Since “Smiffy” hated Moz – I had to as well. So I always had this predisposed “prejudice” against the Mozzer. That said, I can’t deny that this is a pretty good, rock tune. A crunchy guitar progression that took me by surprise. The operatic, high-pitched theremin-like sound that initially accompanies it can be off-putting, but still once the guitars and drums kick in, it’s undeniably a rock song. I will give it thumbs up.

GORDO- I think this will be a success. It’s a definite stomped and fairly catchy.I think will be sure to fill many a dance floor. 8/10

RINGO STARR- “Liverpool 8”

NICK: Well at first I’m gonna have to take issue with Ringo putting his country of residence as the USA on his MySpace page. This song is meant to promote Liverpool so that’s a bit shoddy. This is just a rather shabby Beatles pastiche. He was only the drummer for chrissake. He learnt to play chess when the rest of the band recorded Sgt Pepper. Talk about right place at the right time!

VP: Liverpool eh? City Of Culture 2008 -In order to showcase your musical heritage you could book a musician renowned for their virtuoso skills, their mastery of their instrument of choice, a respected and much loved individual still relevant today, and revered around the globe as a true musical genius. Failing that I suppose there’s always Ringo Starr, loved by millions for narrating “The Adventures of Thomas the Tank Engine”-some people really do find their level eventually. Sadly this ill-advised foray into music again proves that the profound majesty and existential brilliance of “Octopuses Garden” was merely a one off. But lets be fair “Liverpool 8” does show a complex level of lyrical dexterity and provides moments of pure clarity which would surely move Jean Paul Satre to horrible tears whilst turning him green with envy–“I was a sailor first/ I sailed the sea/Then I got a job, in a factory/ Played Butlins Camp with my friend Rory/It was good for him it was great for me” I think Ringo’s musical abilities are encapsulated best by John Lennon-when asked if he thought Ringo was a great drummer Lennon stated , “He’s not even the best drummer in The Beatles”. This offering is quite quite dreadful and highlights the very real dangers of allowing drummers out from behind their drum kits (Sorry Gordo ! i.e. Phil Collins, Dave Grohl, Joe Lean, Bob Holeness) the song appears linked to this capital of culture malarkey, a title which, to be honest, is merely the world’s most expensive letterhead. As a native of the city I am constantly irked by the continued reliance on “Beatles Tourism” it’s overshadowed things in the city for far too long. 2008 could have been the opportunity to get rid of that particular albatross once and for all… I did suggest to the local Council that the staging of a public flogging of the remaining Beatles, Ken Dodd, Cilla Black, Stan Boardman, Joey Barton, Derek Hatton, and both Petes, Wylie and Burns would draw huge crowds. Rather rudely I have yet to receive a response.. Ah well ….in summation listening to this was deeply unpleasant, and I’d rather take a cheese grater to my unmentionables than listen to this pap again. This will do nothing to change people’s perception of Liverpool- time to get out of the past. A MISS

MONSTER BOBBY: “Despite being both the only Beatle to have any working class roots whatsoever and the only Beatle not regularly touted as some sort of working class hero, it is clearly long past the time for Ringo to be put down like the sick dog he so clearly is.

GORDO: Is someone pulling my leg here? It sounds like guy that narrates in Thomas The Tank Engine has joined forces with the penny whistler guy from Jethro Tull. No joking aside, I don’t understand what he’s trying to achieve here? But being a Beatle, I suspect it will sell really well…in em…Liverpool.
2/10

DOGWOOD: ‘Liverpool, I left you but I never let you down’ until he started singing this can of tripe that is. What is this? Some huge prank? It sounds like Pete Wylie doing an impersonation of Ringo Starr doing an impersonation of Wah Heat trying to write a tribute to the ‘Pool in the style of Ringo Starr reading Thomas the Tank Engine. He may have rode the dodgems as a skirt chasing Ted on ‘That’ll Be The Day’ but that’s as close to being relevant that he’s got since leaving the so-called fab four and ‘Liverpool 8’ is not going to further his cause. I was always a Gerry and the Pacemakers man me, less flighty. I don’t do talentless beaky drummers who write insightful airs into the workings of an Octopus Gardens whatever that may mean. I suppose the bit that really gets my goat is the terrace chanting at the end. It’s as if he’s pulled in the PR team that consulted the Cockney Rejects and Sham 69, had too much chardonnay and porcini mushroom risotto and devised a whole hotbed of an utter shambles. Retire gracefully you old fool.

CHRISTINE: Cheesy is all I can say. Ok we know Liverpool is now the city of culture and all. Was that title given to them merely because they had The Beatles? Do they really need this drivel to represent them ?

DAVE: Having just read a full review with Ringo in a recent issue of Rolling Stone, I had a bit of warning as to what this song was all about. The problem with it is the same with every song Mr. Starr(key) has ever sung – and that is he was never meant to be a front man. His true role was to be the beat keeper of the most influential band in the history of rock/pop music. And that he did very well. Now I don’t know how this autobiographical ditty will play to the local denizens of Pubs in Liverpool and across the rest of England – but it made me wince with embarrassment when I heard it. First off, he never had any kind of real singing voice – could just barely carry a tune (yes, the same could be said for Bob Dylan, but right there the comparisons begin and end). – So the studio production has to enhance everything around it. To focus on the positive – there’s a somewhat appealing guitar hook in there – but I can’t see this song getting played anywhere, other than a local Liverpool pub. The track ends with handclaps and jolly chorus of the words “Liverpool” – which might possibly make it somewhat popular with the supporters of that particular Premier League team. Otherwise, it’s just another novelty song, though one that will probably get a big hand when he tours it with one of his “All Starr Bands”. It also has to be noted that he recently did a whirlwind television tour of this song, appearing on many of the late night and daytime variety shows. Of note was Ringo’s very public “snit” – as he walked off one of the top daytime TV shows – because he refused to cut the length of this song down. I find that a hilarious show of pomposity on both sides (the arrogant, unyielding TV producers, and by the 4th Beatle as well). As much as I respect Ringo for his body of work, I’m going to have to give this a thumbs down.

OLLIE: Poor old Ringo – a quarter of one of the most important bands of the last century, yet still musically a bit of joke… he can’t have just been a barely passable drummer, surely? Still, I can’t quite bring myself to be horrible to this song, that’d be like taunting a child with learning disabilities. Sure it’s nice enough, and who knows – I could be wrong – maybe Liverpudlians as a rallying call, might adopt this…? Can’t see it replacing “You’ll Never Walk Alone” mind.

JOE LEAN AND THE JING JANG JONG- Lonely Buoy

NICK: Ahhh… The Jong. I actually dragged fellow guest reviewer Christine down to see what must have been the band’s third or fourth ever gig at around this time last year. This is a good song. Sounds quite beefy in comparison to the demo version. I imagine this will be the band’s first “hit.” It’s just a shame that we’re only offered a snippet on MySpace. Seems major labels are getting wise to us more tech savvy types illegally downloading from MySpace.

OLLIE: In a fit of poor spelling not seen since Avril Lavigne first hit the scene – I will be paying tribute to this in the rest of this peace-see, I’ve started all ready. Joe Lean are to the The Vue, what The Vue are to The Libertines. Somehow in the photocopying, some important details got lost, like tunes for example.

MONSTER BOBBY: Is my mate therefore I like it.

CHRISTINE : This band have been much hyped by the N.M.E. (boo!-VP) et al which often puts me off of bands but having been introduced to JL&JJJ by Nick (hello), I do have the time of day for them. With this track you can understand why they have been tipped for the top. “Lonely Bouy” is a great pop song which is catchy and just creditable enough to make all the Indie kids love it just as much as the £50 men out there.

VP: What was it I was saying about drummers? 😉 Joe Lean and His Jong?? I don’t quite know what to make of em. If you found “Lucio Starts A Fire” underwhelming then you’re unlikely to throw this one in bed and shag it, it appears to have no hooks, no tune and no excitement. In essence it’s as dull as John Major… on a grey wet Tuesday…..in February….. discussing his pea collection…with a hat stand…. and it’s about as challenging as a GMTV quiz “Ok here’s your question, name one thing that has existed in the universe, either now or in the past, ever?”………..Yet on paper you’ve got all the right elements- Sexy lead singer with cheek bones so sharp they could open tins, a dandy ragamuffin look, great guitarists, a drummer called Bummer and oddly they also include posh comedian Jimmy Carr on bass. Apparently if you look in the Oxford Dictionary the entry for the word “Contrived” says simply “Joe Lean And The Jing Jang Jong” and therein lies the problem. Some have cruelly compared them to Razorlight which is far too harsh. Joe and the boys certainly don’t quite induce the sort of torpidity of spirit that Borrell’s flaccid prog rock can generate. However this particular track does also inspire the sort of mental lassitude that can only be truly represented graphically.

Examining Joe’s OTT interviews and barkingly mad statements I can’t help thinking, “is he doing A Chris Morris?” Is it a brilliantly executed example of how to manipulate the press? The Peaches Geldof/Joe Lean love-in is a joke, isn’t it??? Could the concept really be an elaborate scheme that would put anything the KLF ever did as a “statement” firmly in the shade……If he gets a number one, fakes his own death and then returns to reveal the true nature of his media experiment it would be THE greatest trick in the history of rock n roll. Musically the hype is totally and utterly unjustified, the problem with hype is that it takes expectations to a new level, and adds pressure to deliver. So far they haven’t, I really don’t like this. Style over substance. Sorry! Verdict –A MISS (but will be a hit)(I also think secretly some people say they like them cos they fancy The Pipettes)

GORDO: Indie by Numbers….Next…0/10

DOGWOOD: They may have a name that sounds like a cross between a big band leader and a Chinese takeaway but that’s about as interesting as this gets. I had to play this bugger several times before I could draw any sort of conclusion other than it sounds as if someone’s let a load of chimps loose in a studio. It’s a random and cheerless racket that had Dogwood reaching for the seed catalogue in refuge. To be fair there is a point at which melody seems about to triumph but someone then goes a bit garraty on the guitar and I start to flinch. When you get to my age life needs to be a bit straightforward and less involved and I’m sorry but Joe loss and his Chinese circus are just throwing too much at me to catch. Dogwood bruised and cowering.

DAVE: I have to say I am definitely *on* the JL & TJJJ bandwagon. I find every song of theirs I hear to be catchy, hooky, fast paced and exciting. This one is no different. I enjoy the tone of his voice, the swagger in his persona. Plus, any band that lists their influences as Dion and the Belmonts , Dick Dale, Link Wray, The Cocteau Twins, and the works of Ronnie James Dio will always get a second listen in my book. The feedback intro to Lonely Buoy has all the anticipatory elements I crave. Cool guitar intro build-up. Right into Joe’s vocals, sung at an already energetic level (about having a “lump in my throat”) I love the particularly “live” sounding (almost trashy) drums. “Sweat, sweat on lip on lips” he sings. To the chorus “and the sweat, surrounds us all” – so hooky. Its hearkens to the good time music of the original British Invasion of The Beatles, Dave Clark 5 and that early 60’s era. I love it. I see that the JL&JJJ juggernaut is coming to New York City on the 11th of March at one of my all time fave venues – The Mercury Lounge at 9:30 pm – opening for The Pigeon Detectives. They will then be doing a headline show the following night at another local establishment – Union Hall in Brooklyn. I will definitely be in attendance for these. Thumbs up!

BRITNEY SPEARS – A Piece of Me

MONSTER BOBBY: Deserves to be made Queen of the world… and what a curious world that would be.

GORDO: Sounds like she’s having a stab at the press in this one. It’s got an Rn’B flavour to it and I actually think it will be a club hit. It’s got smoothness to it. It also seems like Dane Bowers and Posh Spice gate crashed her vocal session. 🙂
7/10

DOGWOOD : I got a bit distracted on this one whilst perusing Ms Spears myspace page I found the video where she’s dressed like a schoolgirl and somehow it started playing and then….Anyway, back to the matter at hand. I am aware that this young woman is the sort of cannon fodder that the likes of the National Enquirer lap up on a day to day basis selling their tat to the American equivalents of Catherine Tates (now don’t get me started on Catherine Tate). I don’t do American celebrities as a rule; I have enough trouble with H from Steps so I am unlikely to waste my brain cells on concerning myself with their travails. However, Ms Spears is the subject of this review and so therefore I shall give my attention. In this song she appears to want to give me, the listener, a piece of her. What this piece constitutes I have no idea but given that cutting off body parts is probably out of the question I can only deduce that it has to be something less savoury like a bogey, ear wax or toe jam. I was going to say hair but I thought she’d gone all Yul Brynner. Of the three I’d probably take the ear wax as I could fashion a candle out of it when I’ve harvested sufficient. Useful things candles, never know when you might need them. Oh, the song? It’s crap.

CHRISTINE: Poor old Britney…she’s been having a rough time. So much so I never knew she actually had a single out and I must say it isn’t bad considering most people think she’s a loon.

DAVE: There is nothing about this tabloid train-wreck that I can take seriously. Besides being an over processed studio concoction that makes Kraftwerk sound like acoustic folk music, the lyrics turn my stomach with this phoney “reply to the media”. A media, by the way, that she craves attention from. Oh, so now it’s a put down of them? I’d rather listen to that guy who was famous for 15 seconds blubber “leave Britney alone!” than listen to this dreck. How many times can she imply how “bootylicious” she is in this vapid, turgid club-crap of a concoction? Yeah – there’s nothing hotter than overdosing on pills, cough syrup and booze. I think it must be the vomit and drool smell in her hair that turns me on the most. An unequivocal thumbs down!

VP: I feel sorry for the Britster; she really has gone completely ga-ga. This track? Not bad if you like this sort of slickly produced fluff, however you can’t help but wonder to what degree Britters was actually involved in this project and if she was even aware of what she was doing. It all leaves a bad taste in the mouth; the music industry seems intent on squeezing every last cent out of the poor girl. It’s not funny anymore, there’s a certain sort of vicious glee that surrounds her antics which I’m not too comfortable with. The snide remarks such as “You can take the girl out of the trailer but you can’t etc…etc” only serve to reveal a nasty form of elitism that appears to delight in her suffering. As for the song, well, if she’d have written it herself you’d come over all Jeremy Kyle and shout “Go Girl!” Alas it appears to be yet another cheap and nasty ploy, from the industry that cynically marketed her virginity and have now decided it’s time to shamelessly exploit her slow spiral into despair. Let’s make her “feisty” they say, – “Emo Britney fights back”. In Britney’s world the word “choice” does not seem to have any meaning – if she refused they’d probably sue her. So when Britney sings with distaste about being “ Miss American Dream since I was 17” and “pictures of my derrière in the magazine,” it seems very hollow as the whole concept has probably been dreamt up and commissioned by the very people that originally directed the cameras to her bottom in the first place! The media of course click their tongues and cluck and tut like some sort of hypocritical puritanical maiden aunt. Hard to believe that the very same media that criticised her dressing as a school girl, now feel it’s in the public interest to stick cameras up the skirt of a young lady who is obviously mentally ill. It makes me sad – it’s a twisted world! Will be a HIT

NICK: Is this one of the songs that Robyn helps out on? Is that right? Mmm…. this is ok. Nowhere near as good as anything like “Toxic” but a passable stuttery R&B type pop thing. Doesn’t grab my attention. Next!

OLLIE: Poor Britney yadda yadda yadda zzzzzz …Huh? ….Oh yes – Britney… now, some of us out there thought it was an odd choice when she recorded Bobby Brown’s ‘My Prerogative’. Not so much for the actual song, but because the song was in some ways a statement of intent – after which he spiralled into a heavy crack addiction. Musically, Britney’s recent output has gone on along similar lines – and although we can see all the pop rules being adhered to, somehow it just doesn’t have any heart. It’s as if the song is the embodiment of Britney, a hollow tabloid grabbing shell – and sure it’s interesting to watch, but you wouldn’t want to take it home.

SONS AND DAUGHTERS –“Darling”

OLLIE : I went to see S&D’s a long time ago, and they were boring. I’d totally written them off – on the strength of this though I was totally wrong.I’d be more than happy to bounce off the walls of my local discotheque to this.The bouncing guitars batter against vocals that sound like Karen-O singing The Cardigans in the shower!
more please!

CHRISTINE: This song is amazing!!! I absolutely love this track. The last single, gilt complex was brilliant too. I am very much looking forward to the release of their second album so this review is probably slightly biased but if you are familiar with S and D’s trade mark, gravelly vocals and garage sounds you’ll be please with this up beat and modernised sound.

VP: I like this lot , not to be confused of course with that naff Aussie soap opera with the theme naffer than the Neighbours tune. This lot are really excellent, edgy but poppy, spiky but sweet. Lovely vocals and a production that doesn’t over do it. Perfect. There’s nowt for me to moan about here- pick of the bunch, deserves to be a massive – HIT

MONSTER BOBBY: Yawn…

GORDO: This is fairly instant and has a feel good factor about it. Sweet melodies and one you could dance to I guess.
8/10

DOGWOOD: Hey Joe Loss and your Chinese acrobats! Have a listen to this lot and make some notes. Hear that? That’s a tune that is, with a bit of swing thrown in. I don’t normally do cheek but I think I could swallow my pride with this lot of scallywags, they could cheek me over the allotment fence and I may scowl a bit but I would end up chortling to myself as I munched my bread pudding during my break from tending the spuds. It’s the lasses see. I’m a sucker for a pretty face and the two in this lot, presumably the ‘daughters’ would both qualify for my ‘pretty girl chart’. No, I like this – it’s got energy, a bit of drive, knows where it wants to go and is in a hurry to get somewhere rather than get confused at a roundabout like the old Ying Yang Yongs or whatever they’re called. Dogwood smiles at this.

DAVE: Now this I immediately like. Dig that whole tambourine on the snare drum beat. I’ve always loved the song “Lust For Life” by Iggy Pop, so why wouldn’t I like this one? Nice raunchy guitar too. I also like the female singer’s voice. It resonates with me in a positive way. Male vocals doing the background adds fullness and pleasant vibes. Same for the barely audible keyboard pad on the secondary verses. “Twist it in and twist it out”. Cool. Oooh – synth twiddles on the bridge. This is a hand clappin’ good time.
From Scotland, eh? Well you know how much I love bands from there. (Gratuitous Jesus & Mary Chain reference here). Give this one wholehearted thumbs up!

NICK: Not bad. A bit jauntier than their earlier stuff. It’s got a bit of a Motown beat behind it. Makes me think of “A Town Called Malice” by The Jam bizarrely enough. I quite like the boy, girl vocal thing going on.

HEILIGE LANCE– “Anti- Unity” Video

NICK: What is this? I’ve never heard of it. Heard of everything else for review except for this. Seems to be some king of spoken word mashup spliced with jazzy music, before getting going with some Cure/Bunnymen esque guitars and then some weird ranting. Not my cuppa. The visuals remind me a bit of Soviet classic “The Man With A Camera.” I like that. Is this meant to be some kind of political statement then?

CHRISTINE: What can you say about this video??…Well it opens with what can only be described as political rhetoric, which is heightened in meaning with the ‘historical’ images that are played simultaneously. The track then kicks in, which sounds like some high pitched version of Bauhaus.

VP: Enjoyed the Orwellian / Big Brother imagery and the way its cut suggesting the subliminal nature of propaganda. I’m very interested in the whole issue of manipulation of the masses by the media/politicians/celebrity style mags/ it works though, some people actually believe that Chris Moyles is ironic!!! Yes you can get away with anything if you say it’s ironic, even murder… “Did you kill your girlfriend ?/ Well, yes but purely in an ironic sense/Ah well, that’s ok then….move along now” The songs very hypnotic, I’m recalling the anarcho-agitpunk of Crass, hints of Bauhaus/the industrialised bleakness of Joy Division and the anger of early Killing Joke. I also can’t get “I’m Anti-Unity Pro-Isolation” out of my head, and maybe cleverly that’s their intent, a practical demonstration of the power and arrangement of words /phrases. I wonder if subliminal “VP is Sexy” messaging actually works? Yeah I don’t just do happy clappy pop or spunky indie, I do a bit of nihilistic bleakness too. These lads may have a long way to go, but I’ll investigate some more I reckon. HIT

GORDO: Lots of soldiers, tin hats, more soldiers and some guns and a wee speech on communism always do the trick. Not my cuppa tea though.
3/10

OLLIE : Now, anyone using footage of Berlin’s dark era must have something very serious to say. A visit to some of the city’s stark monuments to its turbulent past invoke a pretty strong reaction in almost anyone – their resonance is almost impossible to ignore. The use of repetition here adds to the effect totally, giving an unsettling feeling that adds to the stark nature of the images used. The song seemed to also invoke all the ugliness that you’d expect, which is all well and good if thats your cup of tea – but in my case I hit the mute button after nearly a minute on my second listen

DAVE: Don’t know what I dislike here more. The vague “political” video or the awful “song” that accompanies it. I remember being in amateur bands playing songs that sounded like this. Off key – drums out of sync with the guitars – crappy warbling that attempts to pass for singing. I’m sure they think there is some horse-arse “message” here. On Youtube the clip is described as “new punk expressionist sounds from an amazing band that shook with their dark wall of noise”. I call it crap

MONSTER BOBBY: (he didnt actually review this so I`ll help him)  Love it, I like parades and uniforms. Reminds me of  German pop sensations “Boney M” when they decided they wanted to be taken seriously. 10/10

DOGWOOD: Well you’re not going to stick this on to entertain the family let’s put it that way. Not quite sure what the feller’s driving at going on about being anti-unity and pro isolation and then showing loads of footage of the Berlin wall, border guards and aggravated crowd scenes. Perhaps he wants to get the bricklayers back in. I don’t know I’m confused. Musically it’s a dirge that dresses itself up as something deep and meaningful but it’s not going on my walk-pod. Visually it’s like watching an episode of ‘All our yesterdays’ or being force fed Soviet agit-prop and whilst historically interesting would probably bring any dance floor to a dead stop. I’d rather watch an episode of ‘Sorry’.

SALLY SHAPIRO– He Keeps Me Alive

DAVE: Ah, – Swedish “Electro pop”. OK – will give it a chance. Distorted “robot voices” open it up. Then onto a nice electric piano sound. In comes the voices. Kinda reminds me a bit of “West End Girls” (the band, not the song). When I was going through my midi-electronic-synth-playing-and-recording-on-my-tascan-4track days, I would have totally loved this. I still like it, though. I like that sampled snare drum sound. Had that one in my Alesis D4 drum sample device. OK, here’s that processed voice back again – the same one the band “The Knife” sings all their songs through. The string synth pads are good here. This is very well done. It’s got a bit of an “Enya” feel to it too. Ethereal. Angelic. I’ll bet Gwenno Saunders of the Pipettes loves this. I like it too. Thumbs up. I also see a listing that on Mar 7 2008 at 11:45P she is coming to fave local venue I previously mentioned – The Mercury Lounge in New York doing a DJ set with Johan. Maybe I’ll check it out.

DOGWOOD: I was getting all excited by this, I saw Helen Shapiro when she was the Michelle McManus of her day and I was thinking that this might be her daughter come to rekindle Dogwood’s flame of adoration with some be-bop jazz. But no, this one’s from Sweden by all accounts and whilst sometimes the Swedes can occasionally rouse themselves to get excited about something, this isn’t one of those occasions. “He,” whoever “he” may be, may keep you alive love, but unless you show him a bit more enthusiasm I can see him pulling the plug pretty damn quick. This is like listening to Bronski Beat through your next door neighbour’s wall. Tinny, listless and irritating. I shall not be partaking thank you very much. Dogwood disaffected.

NICK: OK.. Now I may be wrong but I have a feeling I may have turned The VPME onto Sally Shapiro? Anyway, this is an absolute monster. It’s a bit reminiscent of Cher’s “Believe” at the beginning and that fact alone should put you off but actually this song has massive potential. A sort of retro Italian Disco Euro pop thing. If this ever gets a proper release in the UK it should go top five. Well, if there is any justice in the world, that is.

OLLIE: Well come one and all, its 5am – we really should go home.. but let’s not! The club’s shut, the cafe isn’t open yet and there’s sod all chance of getting into a bar now -so lets go to your house! but what to listen to? well how about this – it manages to strike the sort of pretty-to-dancey balance that talk talk or st etienne did so well. All I’m thinking though is, what if Tiga got hold of this? maybe then I’d remember it tomorrow.

CHRISTINE: I’d never heard of Sally before being asked to do these reviews and to be honest if I didn’t hear her again I wouldn’t be feeling any great sense of loss. Sally’s sound is a distinct euro pop style where electronic beats are over laid with voxcoder and high pitched vocals. This track lost my interest in the middle whereby I then switched off the myspace player

MONSTER BOBBY: “I don’t actually know who this is so whatever the majority of respondents think, I’ll go for the reverse.”

GORDO: This one takes its time to hit you, in fact, I’m sure I managed to watch a re-run of Ricky Lake before I heard any vocal action. Nah seriously, it didn’t grab me but when she eventually started to sing, she did actually sound pretty awesome. Nice track from the Swede.
6/10

VP: Yeah long intro- I decorated the hall, had a cuppa and a cooked breakfast, grew a full beard, petted a Shetland pony …then at last the vocals started and I thought, aye this is very nice indeed. I don’t really like this House malarkey, which is making a comeback as the antidote to stale Indie. It’s not the answer kids, as anybody who still bears the mental scars of Rozalla, The Hitman and Her and that buffoon Mr C from the Shamen.will testify. Still, everything gets credibility one day if you wait long enough; one generation’s cringe is another generation’s cult classic kitsch. I remember it first time round all this Italian house nonsense, horrid over produced flatulence of the highest order, and then to make matters worse there then followed sub genres, Euro House, Scouse House, Crack House, Aspirational House, Hickory House, Acid House-House and horribly, Dr Gregory House. Clearly letting business men loose with “Cue base” and “Fruit loops” does not create good art. However if she stays away from that sort of malodorous guff and takes the electro-pop route, gets someone like Ian Catt to produce then she really could be something quite jolly- HIT

A Clear Winner ” Sons & Daughters – Darling”

“Remember Kids, Razorlight Are Sh*te”

Miki Berenyi Interview -Part 3. Miki’s Photos (con’t)

Lush’s Miki Berenyi “The Interview 2008” and her personal photo album Part 3( Part 1 is here ,and part 2 here )

Miki Interview 1996

Photo 33

Miki: “Me with Ian Astbury (The Cult) after our gig at the Electric Ballroom in 1996. Chris was an absolutely MASSIVE fan of The Cult (well, back to when they were Southern Death Cult) and met Ian the first time during the Ride tour in 1991 in LA. Ian ended up joining us on stage in LA one unforgettable time to duet on the song Ciao! (the Jarvis duet on Lovelife). The really funny thing though was that when we went through it at the soundcheck, it became obvious that Ian had got a bit confused and thought we were going to cover the Cult’s Edie (Ciao Baby). We’re playing the intro and he’s going “It’s quite skiffle, isn’t it?”. Chris was laughing so hard he could barely play.”

“Ciao!” By Lush (ft. Jarvis Cocker)

Photo 34

Miki: “Interview with ‘Kennedy’ at the MTV Weenie Roast – a big production stadium gig that’s comparable to various media-run roadshows, but this is in a fucking huge stadium. There was a revolving stage so that as one band played, the next band could set up. That was the theory anyway. We were on after The Fugees who, clearly, had been booked into that slot shortly before they spent about a million weeks in the top ten with Killing Me Softly. As a consequence, they weren’t too keen on playing so low down on the bill and turned up late, spent ages setting up and then failed to leave the stage after their third song, a 15-minute rendition of No Woman No Cry. By this time the MTV organisation had had enough and as Lauryn Hill’s soulful vocals released the first strains of their hit song the stage started to revolve slowly and the rapturous cheering turned to boos as Lush appeared, startled and apologetic. Possibly the most Spinal Tap moment of my entire music career.”

Photo 35

Miki : With Mark Gardener (Ride) at Phoenix 1996. I only put this in because I didn’t have any photos from the 1991 tour and we’d had such a lovely time – the band and the crew were all really lovely and it was such a great way to have our first adventure to America.”

Photos 36 Is From Kat Bjelland (Babes In Toyland) own collection


Photo 37

Miki: “Somewhere on stage – 1993”

Photo 38

Miki: “Photo shoot for Lovelife with the Fiat 500 car.”

“Love At First Sight” By Lush

Photo 39

Miki : “My last New Year’s Eve with Chris – Dec 1995 ”

“Light From A Dead Star ” By Lush (A Tribute)

Thank you Miki x

Miki’s Photo Album-Miki Berenyi Interview Part 2

Miki has very kindly agreed to share her own photos from her time in Lush. So,without further ado or my customary waffling, I give you…
“A Pictorial History Of Lush-Much Loved, Much Missed”

Photo 1

Photo 2

Photo 3
Miki : “These first three are from 1989…1 and 2 are our first ‘proper’ promotional photos which were done by Suzy Gibbons. Emma had been working for Jeff Barratt (PR) who did Creation stuff and Suzy was going out with Guy Chadwick (singer in The House of Love, then on Creation). I don’t think we had to pay !”

Miki: “Pic 3 is from a photo session for French music mag Les Inrockuptibles by Renaud Monfourny.”


Photo 4

Miki : “Me and Steve Rippon (original bass player) and Chris in Amsterdam. We were on our first European tour with the Pale Saints (joint headline – we just switched who went on first each night). Their singer Ian Masters is in the background. 1990.”

Photo 5

Miki:On stage at the Roxy in Los Angeles, April 11 1991. Photo by John Talley. We were on our first US tour with Ride, co-headlining (same as Pale Saints, taking turns to go on first).


Photo 6

Miki: While we were in LA we did a feature for the NME. We went out for the day doing pics and at one point raided a wig shop … HOW WACKY!”

“Nothing Natural” By Lush

Miki And Phil Interview 1992

Miki And Phil Interview 1992 Part 2


thanks to Neil for compiling the videos and Jen

Photo 7

Miki: “More from US tour 1991”


Photo 8

Miki :“Backstage in San Francisco on the Ride tour. No, it’s not Mark Gardener on a rough night… Sky Saxon of legendary 60s psychedelic act The Seeds came backstage. I think Andy Bell actually wet his pants. ”

Photo 9

Miki : “Spurs go through to the FA Cup semi final, which leads
us on to…


Photo 10
Miki: “The Lillies, L-R Simon Raymonde (The CocteauTwins), Chris, me and Russell Yates (Moose). We recorded a flexi for The Spur fanzine to celebrate our imminent failure to win the FA Cup. I remember a very very hungover photo session in Kew Gardens with photographer Piers Allardyce”

“And David Seaman Will Be Very Disappointed About That…” By The Lillies

Photo 11

Miki: ” These are from the Lollapalooza II tour, 1992. Silverfish gave us t-shirts to wear for good luck on the first day.


Photo 12

Miki: “Outside the ‘Cheers’ bar in Boston. Sorry – we’re such tourists!”

Miki And Chris Interview Part 1

Miki And Chris Interview Part 2


thanks to Neil


Photo13.

Miki: “Chris and me after ‘drinking the bile’ with the Jim Rose Circus Sideshow. There was one of the freakshow acts where a bloke inserted a tube up his nose and into his guts and pumped a pint of beer in. Then he regurgitated it out of the tube and you had to drink it. Probably be illegal now, but 15 years ago it was like the Dark Ages and being on Lollapalooza was like touring a medieval village. Except for the air-conditioned motor homes. ”

Photo 14

Miki: “We got given a poster by a fan, Lush in the style of Kiss. Here’s Emma sharing the moment with Kat Bjelland (Babes in Toyland) and Eddie Vedder (Pearl Jam).

Photo 15

Miki : “About to join Ministry on stage in Toronto (replete with Flying V) ”

Photo 16

Miki: ” With Al Jourgensen from Ministry.”

Photos 17 & 18

Miki : ” Emma and Chris join Soundgarden on stage to play drums on Cop Killer. It became a bit of an ‘event’ – I know it sounds horribly cosy – all that ‘bands on stage with one another’, but it was a genuinely good atmosphere (bar one or two notable exceptions!) . Also on drums is Bill Rieflin, then of Ministry, now in REM. I think by the time the tour ended there were about 10 people drumming on stage to that song. ”

Photo 19
Miki : ” Me in the crowd watching the Jesus and Mary Chain, which I did EVERY day of the tour, bar one…

VP: “Miki, which one are you ? I can’t quite make you out ..” 🙂

Photo 20.

Miki : “…And When we joined them on stage for backing vocals on “Far Gone and Out.”

VP: “And how where those volatile scamps the Reid Brothers ?”

Miki : “I guess that they spent a lot of time locked in their dressing room having blazing rows. I remember toward the very end of the tour I was having a drink with William and he suddenly expressed regret at having avoided much of the socialising, saying that he felt sorry he hadn’t enjoyed it more. To be fair, the Mary Chain had a really difficult slot on the tour. Pearl Jam had originally been booked to go on second (right after us!) and in the intervening months their popularity had gone through the roof to the extent that they could have virtually headlined. Being extremely un-starry though, they insisted that they go on in the same slot they had been originally booked for. This was great for us – it meant that the venue was already full, even at 2pm, because everyone turned up early to see Pearl Jam! Not so great for the Mary Chain, though, who had to play right after. Don’t get me wrong, they had a ton of fans and a great response, but to follow this band who were on the up and the audience was chucking themselves around to… well, it can’t have been easy. I watched them every gig though (except one, when we had to evacuate the area because of a hurricane!)

Photo 21

Miki : “And then of course we had our own people join us onstage too. Mike McCready (Pearl Jam), Bill Rieflin (Ministry) and Mr Lifto (Jim Rose Circus Sideshow). The requirement was to drag up (obviously).”

Photo 22

Miki: “Me and Phil on the video shoot for Hypocrite. ”

Photo 23

Miki: “Me and Chris doing the tourist thing in Sydney, Christmas 1992. ”

Photos 24 & 25
Miki : “Lush as ‘Man About The House’ for the NME Xmas edition 1992. Poor old Chris HATED it (wonder why?!) but Phil was in his ABSOLUTE element. We virtually had to wrestle the chest wig off him”

“God, I’ve suddenly remembered that me and Emma did another NME Xmas dress up thing as The Liver Birds, which would be rather perfect for you, no? I`ll go and look for it”

VP: “hahaha ! This I have to see !

Photo 26 retrieved By Miki ! “The Liver Birds ”

“Rupert The Bear(studio outake)” By Lush

“Sweetness And Light”-Live -By Lush

Photo 27

Miki: ” Phil and me at a photoshoot for Raygun magazine in New York. They styled us in all this Paul Smith gear which the boys were rather keen on running off with…”

Photo 29
Miki : “Me, Robin Guthrie (Cocteau Twins) and Emma – backstage in Rennes, France”

Photo 30

Miki: ” NME Awards”

Photo 31

Miki: “Phil enjoying a jacuzzi bath in the hotel room in Detroit, 1994.”

Photo 32

Miki: ” Phil, me and Chris off in the cab to Heathrow for the next tour… 1996″

“Desire Lines” By Lush

PART THREE IS HERE..

PART ONE IS HERE

“Sweetness And Light”- The Miki Berenyi Interview 2008

“Heavenly Nobodies” By Lush
“If you want heroes keep them safe.
They don’t stand up to life.
So lock them in your soul and lose the key.”

-Miki Berenyi

Certain bands or songs will forever be intertwined with particular events or certain times in people’s lives. Lush are one such band, whom, in my case, will always have a special place in my heart. There was no world shattering event in my life, no personal catharthis; I can’t even entertain you with a tragic “Our Tune” type story of heartbreak and redemption or the agony of unrequited love… It was quite simple, I heard their music and thought it was F***ing brilliant, I can remember the thrill when I first heard their thrashing swirling guitars, the thunderous drumming and the evocative wispy vocals. Some cite hearing Hendrix, The Beatles, the Stones the Sex Pistols, or Nirvana etc as their musical “JFK” moment, but it was Lush for me, I can recall it with perfect clarity ( although I certainly won’t reveal what I was up to!) It’s true to say Lush was underrated and unappreciated by certain sections of the music press in the early 90s. A press that, like today’s NME, liked to pigeonhole bands into easily identifiable categories or ludicrous genres. (Hipcore- tranceopera-emotrip- skagospel-doomgaze-jangle thrash-zzzzz) It seemed the press didn’t quite know where to put Lush, which of course just wouldn’t do, I mean how dare they transcend the arsey classification system imposed by the style gurus and genre makers! Where they shoegaze? Well not really, were they Brit-pop? Erm nope…

Still despite the confusion, indignation, snobbery and sexism in some quarters of the press they gathered a cult following in the UK, and seemed to be going from strength to strength. 1996 had seen Lush release their biggest selling album yet “Lovelife” complete with top 30 singles and numerous high profile TV slots. They also had just finished yet more successful dates in the U.S.….. Then …everything fell apart….. As Joe Strummer once said “Whatever a group is, it was the chemical mixture of those four people that makes a group work. That’s a lesson everyone should learn, “Don’t mess with it! If it works just let it… Do whatever you have to do to bring it forward but don’t mess with it”... However the tragic the death of drummer Chris Acland meant Lush really had no choice but to disband, it just wouldn’t have been the same without him.

I won’t retread old ground here, for those unaware of all things Lush they can find an earlier article HERE which goes into a little more depth about the bands history, their beginnings, triumphs and their eventual break-up. Suffice to say they are a band who remain incredibly special to me even more so than the way in which The Clash, The Smiths, Siouxsie, The Jesus and Mary Chain, Blondie etc are. I, like many others, just totally connected with their music and although I still miss Lush, their music sounds as amazing and as vital today as it did some 10 years or so ago …. I was lucky, I got to see them live twice and those shows remain the highlights of my many musical adventures …………

So what happened post-Lush? Well, Emma Anderson formed Sing-Sing with Lisa O’Neil,(who, incidentally, have recently called it a day) Phil King stayed within the industry playing with The Fallen Leaves, and Jim Reid amongst others, and is now a member of The Jesus and Mary Chain’s current line up. Miki Berenyi sang on The Rentals 1999 album Seven More Minutes (track “The Cruise”,) she sang lead vocals on Mitsuo Tate’s lovely “Lost In Blue “-Flat 7 album (track-“Smile” later remixed by Robin Guthrie) she’d had a drunken conversation with Patrick Fitzgerald of The Kitchens Of Distinction recorded and released on Fruits “Hark! At Her” (Track “Starring Relationships”) album and then….well then she just seemed to disappear! Rumours where rife, she’d started a business with Kim Wilde as musical landscape gardeners called “Songs, Shoegaze N’ Shrubs,” she’d joined that diminutive but rather scary little fellow, Tom Cruise, and his wacky scientologist chums (Hey maybe that’s what The Rentals track “The Cruise” was all about?) Others suggested she’d ran off to enroll in Mr. Whiffle’s Big Top to become a trapeze artist . Aside from the latter none of these absurd rumours were true…so where on earth was Miki? What was she doing?

Now I’m sure it’s apparent that Miki is a huge hero of mine, and I was as surprised and saddened as anybody that she had apparently left the musical community completely. She’s talented, intelligent, beautiful, she produced some wonderful songs, which covered an amazing range of subjects, as well as being one of the coolest, nicest people, in music, and she also genuinely seemed to enjoy being up on stage. She always had a laugh with the audience, and could render the tedious Neanderthals (who seem to plague female fronted bands) speechless with a cutting quip or the more basic “Oh do fack off.” Underneath that iconic red barnet there appeared to be genuinely warm, kind, caring person who loved what she did. I’d heard via the wonders of the internet that she was happy and enjoying life, away from the music biz, which was obviously great to know but a part of me also still, felt it was a shame that such a talent wasn’t still writing songs and performing. I wondered if others felt the same.

I therefore resolved to set up a “We Miss Miki” website and myspace page. Soon messages where pouring in from all around the world “What’s she up to?” “She was a rock goddess…come back”I love Toni Basil, where the devil is she now?!”,-“You get the picture ? 😉 ” People shared tales of meeting Miki, what Lush’s music meant to them and, reminisced about favourite gigs. There were also messages from musicians such as Robin Guthrie, The Kitchens of Distinction, The Wallflowers, music mags and numerous record labels hoping to sign her up. The message was clear, she was and is, much admired, respected loved and missed.

Within the many missives received was a message from Eric Matthews, a musician and composer who’s been producing high quality albums for well over a decade, from his early days as one half of Cardinal to his solo albums on Sub Pop and Empyrean Records. Eric informed me that he had joined forces with Ohio based guitarist Christopher Seink and that Miki had agreed to provide guest vocals on a couple of tracks for their “Seinking Ships” project. Apparently Miki and her partner Moose were long time fans of Eric’s work. I was delighted to know that the “majesty of Miki” would be heard once more and obviously keen to know how things had gone, kept in touch with Eric. In due course he informed me he was delighted with the results of Miki’s work in the studio. I can only assume that at some point he must have assured her that I was no wild eyed, gothic loony toon whose calendar still read “4AD” and who sat at home stroking a red wig whilst pretending Miki and Emma were guests of honour at some sort of weird freakish Miss Haversham type dinner party involving an imaginary Andrew Eldritch as the butler and…. (Ahem!)….Erm…quite!….. and Miki agreed to an interview with The VPME. Several somersaults and no small amount of jigging for joy later (including a rather lame “Dancing Homer” impression and a moonwalk) I actually contained my excitement long enough to talk to Miki, Eric and Christopher and discovered that sometimes heroes really, really do “stand up to life”

“Kiss Chase” By Lush

Miki Berenyi

VP: After the tragic circumstances that surrounded the break up of Lush did you make a deliberate decision to get out of the music business completely?

MIKI: No – not really. It’s not like I heard the news of Chris’s suicide and thought, ‘I’m never playing in a band again’. It just happened that way – my life simply changed as a result.

VP: When “Lovelife” was released some critics rather predictably started to use the old “sell out” angle. Did this reaction surprise you?

MIKI: Not at all! By the time Lovelife came out we were pretty well used to being treated with contempt and ridicule by most quarters of the music press. HA! I remember the Melody Maker reviewing Split and slagging us off because (apparently) all our songs were light, jangly things about fluffy clouds and fairies. Meanwhile, reviewing the same album, the NME complained that our lyrics were too depressing (covering child abuse and parental death) and didn’t fit the sparkly, light melodies. I guess what I’m saying is that we couldn’t do right for doing wrong. I, of course, don’t agree with the sell-out accusation. I mean, is Ladykillers more commercial than Hypocrite? Is Desire Lines more shadowy than Last Night? Is I’ve Been Here Before a throwaway exercise in jazz lite whereas Lit Up is a trawl through the underbelly of dischordancy rivalling the darkest periods of Miles Davis?
The production on Lovelife is a little zappier and more upfront. Beyond that, I just think we got a bit more attention. When Split came out, the world was grunge and you had to search hard to find a niche in English pop, so I guess we seemed rare and obscure. By the time we released Lovelife, Britpop had lightened the mood a little and radio and TV were receptive to melody-driven pop songs so our version of that felt commercially acceptable. (i.e., if you stick around for long enough, you eventually become fashionable)

VP: “Ladykillers”? Was this song biographical? There’s been much speculation in the past with regard to who the “Ladykillers” in question may have been…

MIKI: Yes, it was biographical. Three verses, three men, three experiences – and all united by a baffling attitude to women. I’m probably being deeply unfair – after all, I didn’t know any of them particularly well and – god knows – I’ve acted like an arsehole on occasion and could similarly be hung out for ridicule. Still, it was great fun writing it and I remember Ivo Watts-Russell (the then head of 4AD) laughing his head off when he first heard it in the studio. (So much for the enigmatic Svengali image.) As for who it’s about – I’ve definitely heard bachelor number 2 (pretty obvious – see the video) and bachelor number 3 correctly identified, but never bachelor number 1.

VP: Recently bands such as The Jesus & Mary Chain and My Bloody Valentine have reformed , given that a lot of music can now be made using a laptop and reach a huge audience via the likes of myspace, have you never been tempted to dip your toe in the murky waters of the Biz again . If financial constraints and time were not an issue could you see yourself writing and playing again?

MIKI : Hey – if financial constraints and time were not an issue I’d be on my 10th LP and recording a Greatest Hits compilation with the Royal Philharmonic by now. I would love to make music again, but it’s precisely those things that are stopping me! Also – I know people out there who are too young to have – or simply don’t want kids, HATE this answer, but when I do have some spare time (which is rarely) I really, really just want to spend it with my family and friends. I just had nine days (NINE!) off for Christmas and New Year, and – believe me – the very last thing I wanted to do with it was lock myself away in a room with a keyboard, guitar and a computer to wrestle with my tortured soul. I’m 40 and my metabolism is slowing. Meanwhile, the children are small and cute and not yet slamming doors, stealing cash from my wallet and mugging our neighbours. So I’m quite content to savour the moment by sitting around playing ‘Balloon Lagoon’ and stuffing my face with “Quality Street.”

VP: Do you still play the guitar, and do you still have your guitars from your Lush days such as the Fender Telecaster, Rickenbacker 370-12, Epiphone Riviera, Firebird II etc?

MIKI: No – I don’t play I’m afraid. I was never a proper guitarist – only in the context of Lush. I played the guitar to write songs on and to play live. That’s probably why I was so crap! To be honest, unless someone is really good, my heart always sinks a bit when you’re in a public place (campsite, party, holiday) and someone whips out a guitar. My least favourite phrase in friendly company is “Here’s a song I’ve been working on…” I still have the guitars, though. Sentimental reasons.

VP: How did you hear about my “We Miss Miki” campaign, did it freak you out or did it make you realise how much you have been missed by many fans and how much your music meant to them?

MIKI : Hmmmm. I can’t remember. Maybe Emma told me? I was very flattered. And also slightly frightened. Still, having exchanged a few emails with you, Andy, it turns out you’re not a frothing psychopath who wants to abduct my children so, yes – it’s rather lovely to know that anybody cares!

VP: Are your work colleagues aware of your iconic, guitar playing, cider guzzling rock n roll past?

MIKI: Oh god, yes. I talk about it all the time. They LOVE hearing about my rock ‘n’ roll anecdotes. I’m like Les McQueen in The League of Gentlemen – always handing out my old records and warning my workmates about the pitfalls of the music industry – “It’s a shit business” – that’s my catchphrase.

VP: Have you heard any news with regard to 4AD re-mastering and re-releasing of Lush’s back catalogue, (it’s been rumoured there will also be a DVD?)

MIKI: Yes, I’ve heard that too! I seem to remember a bunch of emails about it last year where Emma and I were trying to rack our brains over every hard-to-find release in the Lush back catalogue but I honestly don’t know what’s going on with that. Ask Emma or 4AD!

VP: You are guesting on Seinking Ships album, which will hopefully be available in 2008, did you enjoy the process, you’ve said you’re an Eric Matthews fan, and also that his songs were difficult to sing 😉 could you expand on this? (For Eric’s sake!!)

MIKI : Eric got in touch with me through Simon Raymonde (formerly of the Cocteau Twins and now running Bella Union). He just asked me if I wanted to sing on his record and after reassuring me that he had literally no expectations of the shoddy state of my vocals after a decade away from the mic and that I would be required to make virtually no effort at all, I agreed. He was very patient with my numerous delays due to various family crises and really understanding about my total ignorance of the technological revolution regarding music and computers. I guess what I meant with the ‘difficult to sing’ comment is that the vocal line and harmonies are quite unusual – not obvious. It reminded me of some of Emma’s songs like Thoughtforms, Lit Up, Olympia and Tiny Smiles (Christ, it nearly killed me trying to get the pitching right on that damned song). The vocals work brilliantly within the track, but it’s not the obvious vocal line or harmony that you would pick, given the notes that surround it (if you get what I mean!). Plus there’s a pretty big range – hitting those high notes is fine when you’re young but after 25 years of Silk Cut I’m finding it a strain to get up there!

VP: If as mentioned you didn’t feel able to make a big commitment to music again, would you consider occasional musical ventures such as this (Seinking Ships) in the future. For example if Jarvis rang you and said lets write “Ciao 2” – would that sort of thing appeal?

MIKI : It’s funny, actually, I was in Paris last summer and we went to a fairground at the Tuileries and who should I bump into while trying to cram chocolate crepes into my kids’ faces but Jarvis Cocker, also out with his kid. What a coincidence! I was actually rather touched that he remembered who I was! But no – no Ciao 2. I guess I would consider anything so long as I had the time and it seemed like a fun thing to do!

VP : Do you miss anything about the music Industry , has it changed much since Lush ?

MIKI : I miss the excitement and energy of playing live and the camaraderie of touring – being with the band and crew in a foreign country is like going on holiday with your mates but even more fun because it’s free and there’s a party every night! To be honest, I was never crazy about the studio. That was much more Emma’s environment. I enjoyed writing, and got a real satisfaction and kick out of creating a song. But, to be honest, rehearsing and demoing and recording it seemed like a bit of a drag. Once I’d written the song I just wanted to get out there and play it!

VP: What’s your fondest memory of being a member of Lush?

MIKI: Loads of memories – well, there would be! Most of the best are from playing gigs. Even supporting The Darling Buds when we were crammed three in the back of an ex-British Telecom Dodge Commer going from York to Glasgow at 3am on a damp mattress with my legs up on the bass drum and an arm keeping the guitars from falling on my head. Even that was fun. Right up to supporting Jane’s Addiction at a fucking hockey stadium in America where I thought we were going to get bottled off and murdered and was virtually in tears I was so scared but the kids crowd-surfed and cheered and were very sweet and gentle with us! Actually, as much as recording always seemed a bit of a drag for me, I really did enjoy doing “Lovelife.” This is no slag off of any of the other producers we worked with, but I think because Pete Bartlett (our live sound engineer) recorded it, there was no nervousness and I didn’t feel so self-conscious about making suggestions (and being a crap musician and singer!) so I could actually relax a bit and have fun. I loved that we got our friends involved (doing back-up vocals, Jarvis duetting, our mate Melissa doing speaky bits on Last Night, Dan from Kitchens of Distinction coming in to do a load of percussion, etc) and mucked about with silly instruments (the toy harmonica keyboard on Ciao, the dripping water on Papasan etc). It was a proper laugh!

Eric Matthews

VP: You have a new album out yourself very soon which is getting rave reviews and the Seinking Ships featuring Miki in the pipeline do you have titles as yet

ERIC: My album is called The Imagination Stage. The Seinking Ships debut LP is called Museum Quality Capture

VP: With regard to The Seinking Ships project how would you describe the music?

ERIC: It’s basically a new wave cinema score. By new wave, I mean to reference the early and mid-80’s UK stuff. I am quite a bit older than Christopher but for a kid, he was pretty hip with his love of Siouxsie and the Banshees, the Cure, Cocteau Twins, etc… So, he came out of his teens with some of the same influences as me. Together we are making a brave new kind of instrumental music. And with Miki doing the featurette vocals, on those songs it really comes off as new wave adventure pop.

VP: When you writing the songs did you have Miki in mind, or once the songs were completed did you then think “wouldn’t it be great to get Miki Berenyi to guest on these tracks?”

ERIC: More of the latter. We had the songs written and done more or less and then we decided that it would be cool to have a lady singer on a few of the songs. We made a short list of singers that would be great for the project and contacted Miki first. Thankfully, she already knew about my music and was “honored” to be asked. So, I picked the 3 songs that seemed best suited for a lead vocal and wrote the vocal parts especially for her, in her range, etc. I felt like Burt Bacharach and Miki was my D. Warwick.

VP: I reckon you’ll certainly have the eternal gratitude of fans of Miki for tempting her back into the studio. Given that Miki’s been away from the biz for quite a while, where you confident in your powers of persuasion?

ERIC: I am a pretty good pitchman but no, not exactly confident. I didn’t know the conditions of her retirement at the time. So, looking back, and now knowing her situation better I am pretty shocked that she got on board. We are honored to be the project to bring her back. But what can I say; she more or less agreed to do it without even hearing the music just based on my reputation. I think that’s how it was. But when I sent her the package of music she really came back flipped out and in love with the sound.

VP: Yourself and Christopher (Sienk) seem to be big fans of British music, who would you say are your fave Brit bands?

ERIC: Christopher will have his own list but my top faves are –
The Damned, The Cure The Smiths Depeche Mode Joy Division New Order Killing Joke Japan Cocteau Twins Dead Can Dance Kissing The Pink Duran Duran Tears For Fears ABC Tones On Tail Adam and the Ants Gary Numan …all that genius shit

Christopher Seink:

VP: How did you and Eric hook up?

CHRIS: I knew Eric had done session work in the past; so I reached out and asked if he would session in on a few tracks I was working on. I figured three things could happen. He’d ignore me, he’d decline, or by some miracle he’d listen to the sessions which happened to be the case.

VP: What other musical projects have you been involved with in the past?

CHRIS: I played in and around the Cleveland/Akron area with a few bands in the 90’s. It was lot of fun back then. I kind of miss those days of recording on a TASCAM 4 track, making demo cassettes recorded on a boom box, and then doing the sleeve artwork at the 24hr Kinko’s at 2am. If I had to do that now I’d be hating life. Kids have it easy these days. Uh-oh…. I am sounding old.

VP: You’ve previously stated you where a big Lush fan how does it feel to be involved in working with Miki.

CHRIS: It has been a real exciting moment for me. It’s still a little hard to believe that Miki sang on a few tracks that I was a part of. If someone would have told me, while I was watching Lush play live in Cleveland back in the 90’s, that Miki would be singing on some tracks of mine that Eric Matthews co-wrote and produced I would have laughed and laughed.

VP: Eric’s described the music of Seinking Ships but how would you describe it?

CHRIS: Cinematic, dreamy, jazzy, dark, pop

VP: Are there any future plans for Seinking Ships, I believe this is a studio only project, is it a one -off or may there be other projects in the future? and what are your own musical plans?

CHRIS: Yeah I am sure there will be more Seinking Ships tracks in the future but we’re taking it once step at a time. I am looking forward to a 2008 release of the Seinking Ships LP.

VP: Which other British bands would you say have been a major influence on you?

CHRIS: RIDE, PULP, SWERVEDRIVER, CURE, WIRE, IRON MAIDEN, early VERVE, JOY DIVISION

“Light from A Dead Star” Lush

Don’t miss Part 2 –  – EXCLUSIVE
“A Pictorial History Of Lush.” Miki has kindly shared her personal photo collection with us, complete with notes and anecdotes . PART 2 HERE

Links

Myspace

We Miss Miki

Light From A Dead Star Lush Fan Site

Lush/Sing- Sing Yahoo Group

Sienking Ships

Eric Matthews

Under The Radar Interview

CD’s/Downloads







All releases available on the 4AD website

Videos

Nothing Natural By Lush

Ladykillers By Lush

“Smile” Flat 7 & Miki Berenyi

Sweetness And Light By Lush-Live

Interview with Davina McCall

Miki: “With the middling chart success of Single Girl and Ladykillers, we found ourselves appearing on the kind of TV shows we’d never before been invited onto. There was an absolutely horrendous show called Pyjama Party which we had to endure, the premise being a girlie sleepover with gossip and beauty tips in babydoll nighties – like, basically, my worst f*cking nightmare. We had to have face packs put on us by a pair of transvestites. Originally they wanted us to try out tantric sex exercises, but we decided that whoredom was one thing – rape and buggery another. However, Katie Puckrick, the presenter of that desperate programme, was actually a very likable and friendly woman who came into the dressing room for a chat and was very charming and welcoming. Our appearance on Dear Davina was just as reluctant, but just to add to the misery we also got to experience the famous Davina charm which basically doesn’t exist until the camera gets switched on. No interaction, no hello, no nothing. And then ACTION and you get the chummy, cosy façade.  Frankly, I can’t bear the woman. Her entire interview technique is geared toward making herself look good and she clearly doesn’t give the slightest shit what your answer will be. No wonder she got so famous!

Chirpy Chirpy Chirpy Tweet Tweet By Lush(from the “Alvin Lives In Leeds- Anti Poll Tax Album” )

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So This Is Christmas…..

VPME CHRISTMAS EDITION 2007

Without further ado lets kick off with one of the best Xmas songs to be released, it’s by an old friend of mine……yes all the way from the Wirral, it’s Halfman Half Biscuit

“It’s Clichéd To Be Cynical At Christmas” By Halfman Half Biscuit

Well, the baubles have been vigorously polished, the tree has been erected, the turkeys been roundly stuffed, and we await Santa’s heaving, bulging sack with bated breath. But meanwhile, away from the buxom snowcapped, twin peaked mountains of the magical “Land Of Double Entendre” and back in the real world, parents are preparing for their annual blitzkrieg in “Toys-R-Us” over this seasons “must have toy/gadget.” This is of course due to the fact that if little Johnny doesn’t get exactly what little Johnny has demanded, then the child who has yet to be acquainted with the word “no” or even the concept of compromise may well grow up to be psychologically damaged. (or worse, a solicitor ) It is against such a background that the corporate giants expertly manufacture this kind of hysteria. Huge advertising campaigns, involving the sort hyperbole Alistair Campbell could only dream of, are launched, which cleverly exploit parental guilt, the basic message being, if little Johnny doesn’t get this product you are a CRAP parent, a loathsome individual and you deserve to live a life of friendless, unremitting misery, forever haunted by your shameful neglect. With this in place they then deliberately undersource retail outlets of said product in the run up to Xmas, thus creating the kind of Seasonal pandemonium, that sees quite reasonable, educated people fighting over Nintendo WII’s in order to assuage their guilt. Meanwhile others are cramming their shopping trolleys to bursting point with ludicrous amounts of food that they quite frankly, could never eat, even if the entire population of Birmingham had been invited for Christmas dinner! But hey-ho, if nuclear war ever breaks out, let’s pray it’s over the Christmas period , as we, as a nation, will be well stocked ! It most certainly is “The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year” the season of goodwill and indeed the season to be jolly! So bollocks to all that negative humbug ! We love Christmas, and as the song says “It’s Clichéd To Be Cynical At Christmas” so let’s be thankful for all the positives, as we reflect on the year, and what Christmas means to us. It is also a chance to thank all the readers, musicians and contributors who have joined in and to wish everybody a very Happy Christmas.

As a seasonal treat we thought it would be fun to quiz some of our favourite artists and special friends, enabling them to share their thoughts on the festive season, how do they spend Christmas?… what do they love about it (or not) ?? and/or , what are their most cherished Christmas songs that warm the cockles of their hearts and induce a fierce and compelling desire to roast their chestnuts on an open fire.

Well, Christmas certainly has arrived early for Mr VP as one of his all time heroes ex- Lush legend Miki Berenyi agreed to share her favourite Christmas songs with us:-

MIKI : “Frosty the Snowman” featuring Angela McCluskey
from “The Rumor Mill’s Christmas On Clinton St.” charity album. Heard this very recently and knew nothing whatsoever about Angela McCluskey (that’s how out of touch I am). What a lovely voice! Also an excellent cause (http://www.savefrosty.org) and a lovely video on YouTube (below)

“Sleigh Ride” by The Ronettes
“Santa Claus is Coming to Town” by The Crystals

“Both from the Phil Spector Christmas album – I’d pick every track but these 2 are my favourites. Genuinely the most HAPPY renditions of any Christmas songs EVER, this is a staple of our family Christmas and will induce dancing, singing and genreral whoops of delight from me, Moose and the kids.”

The Pogues featuring Kirsty MacColl “Fairytale of New York”

You’re a bum,You’re a punk, You’re an old slut on junk, lying there almost dead on a drip in that bed You scumbag, you maggot, You cheap lousy faggot, Happy Christmas your arse, I pray God its our last ! “Lyrics that just beg to be yelled out as you stagger home from the Christmas booze-up”

“Christmas Wrapping” by The Waitresses
“Reminds me of being a teenager – I think I was about 15 when it was out! I remember seeing the Waitresses on some music programme miming or whatever. I thought Patty Donahue looked so amazing – this giant leggy geeky thing in a mini skirt. Brilliant! Love the sweet love-story soap-opera story line, too.”

“Frosty The Snowman” Angela McClusky

Fairytale Of New York” The Pogues And Kirtsy McColl

James from The Hussy’s Top Xmas themed Songs are

1/ Come on Let’s Boogie to the Elf Dance- Sufjan Stevens
2/ Snow plus Xmas- Pearlfishers
3/Santa Claus is Coming to Town- The Crystals
4/ I Was Born on Xmas Day- St Etienne
5/ The Wizzard One

“Come on Let’s Boogie To The Elf Dance”- Sufjan Stevens

For Yuki from Asobi Seksu it sounds like Christmas is a chance to rest
“I’m looking forward to wearing sweat pants and eating lots of food that is “bad” for you. Mostly this holiday, I’m looking forward to being in one place for an extended period of time. And in 2008- can’t wait to make a new album!”

Asobi Seksu have just released a fabulous reverb soaked festive cover of The Ramones “Merry Christmas ( I Don’t Want To Fight Tonight )”backed by the fantastic “New Year” get it here from One Little Indian Records

Rowena from Santa Dog describes her perfect Xmas thus ;

“It’s all about the food! Full on turkey, all the trimmings, flaming pudding, too much booze and sharing with those you love (aaahhh). Every other year we’re in Aberdeen and then it often snows – perfect. 2008 plans? To keep having fun and to get to Japan!”

And if you’ve ever wondered what Charlotte Hatherley gets up to at Christmas….apart from causing a near nationwide stampede at job centres in the rush to fill out those Santa Claus job application forms…..


Charlotte :” Every year I try to go to Sydney for Xmas where most of my family live (lucky bastards). I have Xmas on the beach drinking beer in the sweltering heat thinking how great it is to get out of London.”

Toby from The Duke Spirit will be full of Xmas Spirit and indeed possibly spirits !

“My parents live on the Isle Of Wight, so I like going to visit them for Xmas day. It feels like a cool adventure getting the train and boat down there. I’m a big Xmas fan. I love the excuse to cook huge meals, more food than you can eat, and drink for 3 days without feeling like an alcoholic. I like the suppressed childish excitement you can see in peoples eyes too. It’s a good time of year. 2008 The Duke Spirit start spreading their wings once again.–My hope for 2008 ?- to reap the rewards of 2007. It’s been a hard year but things can only get better.”

“Just Like Christmas” By Low

For Screaming Ballerina’s vocalist Laura Trouble its all about animal welfare, champagne and big eared farm boys !

“What I like about Xmas is lots of presents please. Christmas is good because i get to go home and see my beloved dogs (April and Ulie) (RIP Rosie and Scampy and Sooty) and cats (George and Oscar )and its the only time of year where my lunatic family get to be all together in a big ball off tinsel and fuzz and love. Watching Dad’s Army (“WHAT IS YOUR NAME , BOY? ….’Dont tell him Pike! ‘”….) and Black Adder “YOU SHOT MY SPECKLED JIM! “) is good . Throwing wrapping paper at the TV while my gran sleeps through the queens speech is bad. Going to the farm near my dads house to drink with all the inbred big eared locals and having to leave when some member of my family insults someone unintentionally- is bad but hilarious so its good. Getting over excited at 9 am and drinking so much champagne that i peak to soon and need a cat nap at 1pm – is bad. Eating a bloody nice xmas dinner – is good. Eating too much bloody nice xmas dinner – is bad and extremely uncomfortable. Listening to lots of music and wearing your slippers all day – is very good indeed. Fairy lights are the best invention in the world, so thats good, because they are EVERYWHERE . The apocaliptic blood bath that is 10 million turkeys getting slaughtered in the most in-humane way possible in an extremely short space of time – is very very bad.And makes me sad inside. But over all I do love Christmas, its a time for loving and giving and skipping and swaying and glowing and eating and shitting and singing and that my friends is a good thing.”
My fave xmas songs are

1. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas – Sinatra

2. Merry Christmas Everybody – Slade

3 . “I Hope You All Die You Blood Hungry Carnivorous Christian Bastards”
– Laura Trouble (that’s a joke)

Merry Christmas Everybody -By Slade

And Beth Gibson from The Hot Puppies tells us about her stockings!

“What do I like best about Christmas?. Going home to my Mum and Dad’s and spending time with family and friends mainly. That’s the big bit! Then, singing Christmas carols, Christmas stockings full of bits you’ll find throughout the year that take you right back to Christmas, Christmas morning with “The Philadelphia Story” and Christmas evening eating too much chocolate! and the songs;
“Fairy Tale Of New York” The Pogues
“Oh Holy Night ”
And anything christmassy by Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin!”

Christopher Seink Of Seinking Ships

“What Christmas means to me….
-24 hour marathons of “A Christmas Story”
-Avoiding the malls at all cost (shopping online)
-Spending time with loved ones
-Mastering the art of regifting”

Favorite Christmas tunes….
Skating (A Charlie Brown Christmas)
Let It Snow
Feliz Navidad
Nutcracker- Op. 71: No. 2 March

“The Christmas Song” By The Raveonettes

Mr Von Pip, who having a birthday on Xmas Eve is rather fond of the festive season…” There are toooooo many great Xmas songs to mention , but here’s my top 10

1. Fairytale Of New York- the Pogues and Kirsty McColl
2. Merry Xmas From The Family – Jill Souble
3. It’s Cliched To Be Cynical At Christmas – Halfman Half Biscuit
4. Just Like Xmas – Low
5. Christmas Lullaby -Shane Mac Gowan
6. The Christmas Song – The Raveonettes
7. Donner And Blitzen – Badly Drawn Boy
8. Frosty The Snowman -The Cocteau Twins
9. All Alone On Christmas-Darlene Love
10. Same Old Christmas-Hilary Duff (!!)

And then theres the carols “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” “Silent Night” “O Little Town Of Bethlehem.”

And to this years festive releases:- as well as The Rumour Mills Christmas Charity Album mentioned by Miki which you can get HERE on I-tunes and Asobi Seksu’s single, there’s also Lucky Souls “Lips Are Unhappy” backed by an exclusive festive cover of “Lonely This Christmas” (all profits go to the War Child charity). Buy it here its only £0.40p !”

For films,well Christmas Eve wouldn’t be Christmas Eve without “It’s A Wonderful Life” it is possibly my favourite film ever. Not only is it thoughtful, emotive, magical and Christmassy…it’s possibly the most subversive film ever made. George Bailey is on the brink of suicide on Christmas Eve, and gets a chance to see what the world would be like if he’d never been born.”Strange, isn’t it? Each man’s life touches so many other lives. When he isn’t around he leaves an awful hole, doesn’t he?”“You’ve been given a great gift, George: A chance to see what the world would be like without you.” It appeals to me on every level, its humanity , its politics, it’s message, it really is so uplifting, people can make a difference, the little guy does matter! The good will out! The performance of Jimmy Stewart is incredible and it makes me cry-everytime! A perfect film! (sniffle)

All Alone On Christmas” By Darlene Love

Merry Christmas From The Family” By Jill Souble

Dogwood , who surely will one day be delivering the Christmas message to the nation, has this to say about the festive season :

“Hello Dogwood here, Settle down….

I don’t think Christmas has been Christmas since Andy Williams was forcibly removed from the schedules by the likes of Grade the Younger. Thank you Michael Grade, for reducing Christmas Day to an unceasing conveyor belt of Eastender ‘your gonna get yours’ storylines featuring nervous breakdowns, petty revenge, petty larceny, grand larceny, gay vengeance, straight vengeance, children coming out of the woodwork to unwitting parents, parents coming out of the closet to unwitting children – processed misery for the masses. Orwell would be proud. I’d like to sit down with my snowball and unshelled nuts and watch the afore-mentioned Williams or Como gad about in a sleigh against a filmed background of Aspen or some such place with a load of dolly birds in scanty Santa suits and white teeth. I can’t do that now because some idiot down at health and safety has decided that unshelled Brazil nuts represent too much of a litigation risk with the flying shell shrapnel that occurs when one applies their nutcracker.Back in Preston when I was a lad, Christmas would begin when Ma Dogwood would skin the tripe and allow us to mix the rendering pot whilst singing Industrial Revolution carols. My Dad, fresh from his Chartist meeting, would mix up a gin punch and serve them in a custard jug as we didn’t have any glassware. I would swig mine from a jam jar. Santa Claus would bring a variety of treats including a Satsuma, a root vegetable, a tin of pilchards, half a pound of cough candies, a box of matches and some woodbines. One year I got a scale size Anthony Eden whittled from driftwood. I still have him and he sits on top of my 4’ tinsel tree that I’ve had since 1968. Ipodman? I wouldn’t have known where to start lad.

As for my favourite Christmas songs, well:
Perry Como and Angie Dickinson – The twelve foods of Christmas. It starts off with ‘On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me a de-licious chocolate éclair and climaxes with ’12 Artic rolls, 11 Jaffa Cakes, 10 Swiss Rolls, 9 Wagon Wheels, 8 Mince Pies, 7 Iceland Bannofee Kebabs, 6 Lidl Lincoln biccies, 5 Crepe Suzettes, 4 Crunchie Bars,3 Selection Boxes, 2 Tins of Roses and a de-licious chocolate eclair’

The Little Boy That Santa Claus Forget – Vera Lynn. This always reduces me to tears as I WAS that boy in 1952.

Perry Como – ‘A Christmas Dream’ from The Odessa File. I admire Jon Voight immensely.

Have a seasonal fest.”

“A Christmas Dream” By Perry Como

Monster Bobby’s Xmas Faves

1 “Poetry For The Winter” By Komon (free download here)
2 As Above
3 As Above
4. Little Saint Nick By The Beach Boys ( or is it Hanson?)
5 Mary’s Boy Child (?) Boney M

BOBBY: ” I think my two favourite artists at the moment are Boney M and Komon (god knows what that says about the direction for the next Pips album..!) ” (Pipettes in Boney M- direction shocker!!? 3 female singers and a dude called Bobby ???!!!;)-VP)

“Mary’s Boy Child” By Boney M

For Marcella Puppini its “all-a about-a da family, capiche?”

For me, Christmas is all about going back to Italy and spending time with my extended family. We are really lucky as we all get on really well, and even my parents, who’ve been divorced for 20 years, get together during the holidays for family dinners. Our Christmas lunch is an absurdly lavish affair: the silver cutlery and embroidered table cloth come out, and we have about 6 or 7 courses, of which the main one is a whole rosted leg of pork. Every year we hope for snow, but these days it doesn’t snow until the new year. When I was a kid we sometimes would get snowed in for a couple of days and read by the fireplace. I loved that. The Christmas song that we listen to every year is an italian one called “Un Natale da buttare via” – a Christmas to forget. It’s a really tragic song about being dumped on Christmas day and it has always appealed to my melodramatic side. And there’s another song that my father requests every year, which me and my sister have been singing since we were about 7. It’s another Italian one, and my dad makes us sing it from the garden as it’s about the baby Jesus being cold on Christmas day. Us Italians do love a bit of drama!!! That one always makes us giggle.It’s a wonderful life is also a staple, which we usually watch on Boxing day.

Nick Levine From Tack! Tack!Tack! tells us what he’ll be up to:-

“This Christmas I’ll be listening to the soundtrack of The Ghosts Of Oxford Street. I’ve had a cassette copy for years and finally managed to track down a CD of it earlier in the year. The Ghosts Of Oxford Street was a made for TV film/musical presented and written by Malcolm Mclaren about the history of Oxford Street. It features music by a whole array of peeps like Tom Jones, Kirsty MacColl, and true to form a pretty bad stab at a Stock, Aitken and Waterman techno style track by McLaren himself. To my knowledge it only aired once, in 1991. And its a great shame that it isn’t shown each and every Xmas as it would make a pleasant change from The Snowman.

The Ghosts Of Oxford Street (Sinead O Connor-Silent Night)

 

The final word however, with regard to the meaning of Christmas, I`ll leave to Eric Matthews who has been producing astonishing and innovative music for many years on the Sub Pop label and has worked with Tahiti 80, The Dandy Warhols, Ivy, Man of the Year, Elliott Smith, Paula Kelley, Pugwash, Volovan, and Bug 2000. 2007 has seen Eric as industrious as ever, which included working with Miki Berenyi and Christopher Sienk on the Seinking Ships album, due for relase next year .

“To me Christmas is a two fold thing. It is both a bizarre time where we I get all jazzed about spending stupid money on those closest to me and getting cool presents. But it is also an intensification of the general message of my religion. I think of Christ 300 days a year anyway but in this time it becomes more intense somehow. I surround myself in His glory and it really helps get me through.

3 songs: Christmastime Is Here, Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas, and (from the hymnal) It Came Upon A Midnight Clear.

Movies: A Charlie Brown Christmas, Ben Hur, Groundhog’s Day, and Jesus Of Nazareth.”

Quote Of The Year

Monster Bobby after a recent Pipettes gig in NYC discussing Mr Von Pips dancing!

(Courtesy Of Dave Cromwell)

“Christmas Lullabye” By Shane MacGowan

Happy Xmas , we’ll leave you with a special Christmas verse, from Neal Zetter

“When The Music Ran Out”

I had a horrid nightmare about
On Christmas eve the music ran out
The radio had no sound
There was silence all around
The magic that made the melody
Was just a distant memory
A buried treasure underground
Lost and never to be found
When the music ran out

iPods were idle
CDs ceased – all blank
The notes were all stolen
From the musical bank
Concert halls stood empty
Discos deserted and dead
No more songs left to write
Or to stick in people’s heads
So they read
Books instead
When the music ran out

A, B, C, D, E, F, G
Were consigned to history
F-sharp, A-minor, B-flat too
All unemployed with nothing to do
Standing in a long dole queue
On that day
When there were no tunes left to play
They packed the instruments away
Coloured rainbows turned to grey
Rappers were wrecked
DJs in disarray
Buskers broken in dismay
Andy Von Pip said “I’m anything but ok”
When the music ran out

Whistlers couldn’t whistle
Dancers couldn’t dance
Hummingbirds that tried to hum
Didn’t have a chance…
But on Christmas morning I woke up from my dream
I could feel my heart beat
I began to tap my feet
I switched on my MP3
The best possible presents were waiting there for me
My ears enthralled in ecstasy
Screaming Ballerinas, Wedding Present, Clash and the Pipettes
Hot Puppies, Operator Please, Pulp, the Raveonettes
Long Blondes, Sex Pistols, Ramones, Charlotte Hatherley
Ladytron, Duke Spirit, Smiths and Morrissey,
Left me without a doubt
That there will NEVER be a day
(I’m sooooooo relieved to say)
When the music runs out

HAPPY CHRISTMAS-“It’s A Wonderful Life”

Festive Greetings !

“Everthing’s Gonna Be Cool This Christmas” By Eels

 

Old Favourites-Lush

 


“I Have The Moon” By Lush

  • Lush

One of the Nineties’ most unusual indie bands, sprang from a friendship formed, at 14, by Londoners Miki Berenyi and Emma Anderson. As they put it “music was it“. After learning the ropes in other bands “Lush” was formed with Mikis then boyfriend Chris Acland on drums and Steve Rippon on bass (later replaced by Phil King )

So whats it all about ?? “We were kind of punk rock in one way”, says Emma Anderson. “We did think ‘Well, if they can do it, why the fuck can’t we?’ Basically, our idea was to have extremely loud guitars with much weaker vocals. And, really the vocals were weaker due to nervousness – we’d always be going ‘Turn them down! Turn them down!’.” “We started by writing crappy riot grrl anthems,” says Berenyi, “which was probably charming in a juvenile way. But there was a very rapid shift from the minute we started to write for records. The music, the lyrics became much more thoughtful and expressive, more important, really. I remember that change beginning when Emma wrote “Thoughtforms”, it certainly made me think I needed to get my act together.”Often pigeonholed as part of the so called “shoegaze” genre , In reality Lush always had a poppier edge and were probably more akin to The Primitives and The Sundays.

The bands biggest commercial success with their final album “Love Life” ironically could well have been their undoing . Miki descrbes writing songs for the “LoveLife” album as”a kind of ‘give ’em what they want’ thing. Of course, my idea of commercialism is still a long, long way from other people’s. “Ciao!” may be a lilting duet with Jarvis Cocker but it’s still basically two people telling each other to fuck off.” This success led to pressure to “break America” but alas the sheer volume of shows and the travel led to frustration and bad feeling Chris Acland, was ordered to rest by his doctor, and returned to his parents’ home in the Lake District. Anderson, dissatisfied with the direction , called a meeting and announced her departure. “It was total overkill,” says Anderson “I felt like a product being shoved down people’s throats. It felt soulless.” “Everyone was sick of touring,” says Berenyi “and Emma said she didn’t want to go through anything like the Lovelife experience ever again. She thought we should continue without her but I said no way. Things were left at that with no definite decision. Being the eternal optimist, I believe it was rocky but it would have continued, gone in a totally different direction. Then two days later we heard about Chris.” At his parents home – Acland had hanged himself.

“For me,” says Berenyi “That was the end. There was no way on earth I could have gone on with Lush without him, because I always firmly believed that without his benign influence Emma and I would have torn each other apart years ago. Not to mention the obvious fact that he was one of my closest friends ever and there was very little else I wanted to do without him, for that matter. So I guess to Emma the end was aready in sight. For me personally, it was Chris’s death, and Chris’s death only that finished Lush. I enjoyed being in the band immensely, I’m glad I did it. But that really was a full stop, his personality was such a major part of the band.”

A tragic end to a young life , and to a fantastic band . The record “industry” should realise that music isn’t just a product ..music means more to the fans and the bands than simply a profit margin….yes I know the record company has to make money but at what price??? …..one day they might actually listen……

Links
Emma Andersons Band -Sing-Sing

“We Miss Miki Campaign “

The Jesus And Mary Chain ( Phil King Plays Bass with JAMC)

VIDEO

“Lady Killers” By Lush

 

Lush Wallpaper

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